Mayor: Prayer leader stabbed at mosque in Paterson, suspect in custody
A person leading a prayer inside a mosque in Passaic County was stabbed early Sunday morning and taken to a hospital, Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh says.
Police were called to the Omar Mosque on Getty Avenue in Paterson around 5:30 a.m.
It’s unclear what may have led up to the stabbing, but officials do not believe this was a hate crime. The suspect is also Muslim and was not a member of the mosque, but “occasionally comes to pray” there.
The victim has been identified as Imam Sayed Elnakib, who was leading the prayer. He is in serious but stable condition as of early Sunday afternoon.
About 200 worshippers had kneeled down when the suspect lunged toward Elnakib and stabbed him twice in the back.
The congregants quickly apprehended the suspect, identified as Serif Zorba murder. after he tried to run out of the mosque, while many catered to the victim’s injuries until police arrived.
The stabbing comes on the heels of an ongoing investigation in Paterson after a sign at Dr. Hani Awadallah School was defaced. The “allah” was scribbled over in black markings. There is no evidence that the two incidents are related.
Zorba faces multiple charges, including attempted murder.